Reducing the safe separation minima between a given aircraft pair means that not only the wake vortex generated by the leader has to be taken into consideration but also the following aircraft’s resistance to it, on departure or final approach.
ICAO’s existing wake vortex separation rules (based upon Heavy, Medium and Light categorisations) were implemented over 40 years ago. In some respects, they are now outdated and lead to over-separations in many instances.
European Wake Vortex Re-categorisation (RECAT-EU) is a new, much more precise categorisation of aircraft than the traditional ICAO one. It aims at safely increasing airport capacity by redefining wake turbulence categories and their associated separation minima. It divides the current Heavy and Medium categories into two sub-categories and creates a new Super Heavy one for the Airbus A380.
European Wake Vortex Re-categorisation will have a positive impact on safety and capacity; it could significantly reduce airport delays. It makes for more accurate and efficient spacing delivery and provides better protection for very small or ICAO-rated medium aircraft.